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Monday, May 21, 2012

Meshing the Front and Back Dogs: Phase 1

We had a very exciting Sunday that we wanted to share with you.  We paired the Front Dogs with the Back Dogs for a walk.  It is something we haven't done in a long time and now we are hoping to make it a weekly thing.

The pairs were:  Brut and Silver, Zappa and Blaze, & Fiona and Chance.

Each of these pairs have walked together a few times the past few years.  

I used to walk Brut and Silver together until Brut started copping an attitude and we had dogs charging at us from other houses.  So hubby took Brut and I took Silver.  Brut can be so territorial and since Silver is his girl, he acts like he owns the neighborhood.  So Daddy and him took the lead, while Silver and I followed behind, keeping them just enough apart that they couldn't touch.  No problems there.

Then Daddy took Zappa while I took Blaze.  These two dogs have had the most contact out of the two packs.  Zappa was the only one who got along with Blaze when she first came back with us, but it has been a while since they have been together again. We did the same walk pattern, Zappa in front, Blaze and I in back.   Zappa was a little more aggressive, don't know if it is leash reactivity, but I do believe he didn't care for Blaze being part of his daddy time.  He is such a spoiled brat who almost always gets his way.  And I think he felt protective of Daddy.  About halfway through the walk he calmed down, but stayed on his toes.  Which later made me realize how much I need to work with him on some manners and commands.  And Blaze...she didn't hardly pay any attention to Zappa or his threats.  She did what she always does on a walk, she hunts for ground rodents.  :)  Zappa didn't phase her a bit.

So that left Daddy to walk Fiona and I took Chance.  These two have walked before really well before, but this time it was Chance that was being more reactive.  Thank God for all of the leash training I did with him last year.  I had to stop him a few different times to get his attention back on me.  I did my best to nip any signs of his reactivity in the bud and by the first turn, he was calmer.  Fiona paid no attention to Chance and walked quite nicely for Daddy.

I do believe that Chance was a bit hurt and feeling protective with another dog walking with us, same as with Zappa.  This was a huge change for everybody after not doing it for over a year.  So we are going to take it slowly and keep all the pairs in this order for a while and see how we can build from there.  We really wanted to work on this last summer but with Daddy's schedule it wasn't possible, but this summer is looking good for it.  It will be good practice for everyone.  We will still be doing our one-on-one walks and do these pairs once or twice a week and see how it goes.

10 comments:

Julia Williams said...

I hope it goes well for all of you! It sounds like a lot of effort, but I know how dedicated you are, so if anyone can make this work it will be you.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

It would be so great if the two packs could ever merge... glad you are trying this!

Sarah said...

Congrats on your step forward with pairing up the packs!

Siku Marie, White Dog said...

One of the best pieces of advice we got from the wonderful trainer we had at last year's canine cancer walk was to Walk Quinn and Yo together...this was back when they were still having issues with each other. It took time but it really helped them to form a relationship (plus they still got their own "me" time with Steve).

Now every so often we mix up the pairings so everyone in the WDA stays in tune with the others. Right now Quinn is a perfect mentor for Oso the new kid. Puff and Nuka walk together and at home Nuka has reduced her need to herd Puff by barking in our shy girl's face. Siku and Yo go together and appreciate the fact that they are well matched in pace.

So yes! Walk the two packs together. It works...you will see.

Ann said...

It was take trial and error to come up with what works and what doesn't. It is great when things work out in the end.

Ann Lawson
http://www.creativedoggytreats.com

Linda said...

I have to say, I understand what you've been going through with having two packs. Emotions have escalated with two of my dogs to the point where I've had to separate them. They need to have some time apart right now and we're going to have to start over at the beginning with them. I think the walk is one of the best ways to begin, but not together...not yet. I'm very interested in hearing how your paired walks go. Good luck with it.

Bassetmomma said...

I hope all goes well! It sounds like a great routine for them to get used to and I'm sure frequency and repetition will help. :)

Emily said...

Congratulations! Sounds like you made awesome progress. I get so excited when we have success with new situations/scenarios/training so I am sure you have a big happy buzz!

Pamela said...

I know you were thinking about trying again to do some things to meld the two packs. Sounds like taking the pairings outside (if you can manage the crazy dogs barking at your around the neighborhood) will make things go more smoothly and trying pairings at home.

Congratulations on your successful walks!

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

Best of luck with your paired walks:) Sounds like a great way to reacquaint everyone in neutral territory.